Pay Attention to Your Toddler — It Helps Her Learn

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BySarah Yang
Updated
Feb 2017
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Photo: Rob & Julia Campbell

How you respond to your child’s calls for attention will affect how eager they are to collaborate and learn. According to a new study in the journal Child Development, researchers found that toddlers whose parents responded positively to their attention-seeking behaviors were more eager to collaborate and socialize. In the study, the parent and the child were in the same room and the parent had to fill out a long survey that required a lot of attention and focus, while toddlers tried to engage their parents. In the second part of the study, the child had to watch her parent perform a series of actions and try to imitate them. Researchers found that toddlers who showed positive attention-seeking behaviors (like pointing and sharing objects or laughing and smiling while talking to their parent, rather than crying or screaming) collaborated more with their parent to finish the task.

Researchers note that it’s important to encourage positive and high-quality attention-seeking in toddlers – which means actively engaging with them. The toddlers who seek attention in a positive manner are more likely to learn in an interactive and social way.

What do you think of this study? Do you think you pay enough attention to your child?

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